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History

Photo: Landesmuseum Zürich

When Aachen was the centre of Europe – and Charlemagne ruled the known world

30 April 2014 10:50

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978, Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) will this summer become the focus of European attention. From June to September, the Aachen Palatinate, Europe’s best surviving Carolingian palace… Continue reading

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St Paul's Choristers Prepare For The Christmas Services

Christianity is not a prop for politics

25 April 2014 16:52

First the godly, then the godless, then the godly again. The public debate about whether Britain is indeed a Christian country, which the Prime Minister kicked off with his article… Continue reading

25 Comments
Christina Hendricks - a ginger woman, who is not a witch (Stuart Wilson/Getty)

Why make ginger jokes? Redheads, now, are all the rage

24 April 2014 17:58

Much like supporting Millwall or contracting Parkinson’s Disease, red hair has traditionally been seen by the prejudiced as a foul affliction worth avoiding. The biographies of Mary Magdalene, Van Gogh… Continue reading

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First State Visit Of An Irish President

An extraordinary event in the history of Anglo-Irish relations

9 April 2014 14:11

If there’s one thing a poet is good for, it’s memorable circumlocution, which is why Michael D Higgins (the D is crucial; people wouldn’t know who you were talking about… Continue reading

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Image: EPA/Loretta Brennan

You sexist/racist/liberal/elitist bastard! How dare you?

7 April 2014 14:49

While he was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, Tony Judt found the breath to educate those who believe they could ameliorate pain with soft words and bans on ‘inappropriate’ language.… Continue reading

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Alex Salmond Speaks At Scottish Independence March And Rally

Alex Salmond is not a Nazi. He’s not even a Fascist.

27 March 2014 11:50

Every so often you come across an article so bizarre it forces you to re-examine long-held certainties on a subject about which you happen to be tolerably well-informed. This year… Continue reading

181 Comments
This pool picture provided 03 September

Vladimir Putin’s Russia is jingoistic, angry and oppressive. But it’s nothing like Nazi Germany

21 March 2014 11:06

I’m conservative, so it’s hard for me not to love Vladimir Putin. His ripped torso, the way the sweat glistens on his pecs, the steely gaze, the cheeky smile. How… Continue reading

113 Comments
Pro-Ukrainian Tatars demonstrate against the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Remembering the decimation of Crimea’s Tatars

21 March 2014 9:55

Crimea’s Tatars are nervous after Russia’s annexation of the territory. The Tatars, Sunni Muslims who account for 12 per cent of Crimea’s population, boycotted Sunday’s referendum worried that the Russians… Continue reading

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King John signs Magna Carta. Was this the defining moment in English history?

Should we make Magna Carta Day our national holiday?

20 March 2014 14:31

I know there are probably more important things in the Budget, but I for one (and probably, literally, the only one) am won over by the government’s decision to spend… Continue reading

171 Comments
White smoke in Rome: Cardinals have picked the new Pope. Picture: Getty

The Spectator: on popes and poverty since 1828

13 March 2014 18:28

A year ago, a relatively unknown Argentine cardinal, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope. A few days later he announced he would take the name Francis, after Saint Francis of… Continue reading

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Image: Getty

The Spectator: on 150 years of punishing Russia

6 March 2014 10:31

Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine has left western diplomats scrabbling for sanctions that won’t backfire on to the rest of Europe and America. The foreign secretary William Hague said Russia… Continue reading

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Ukranians demonstrate in front of the Communist Party's central committee headquarters, 25 August 1991, in Kiev, after the Soviet republic declared its independence.  (ANATOLY SAPRONENKO/AFP/Getty Images)

The Spectator – on 400 years of unease between Ukraine and Russia

27 February 2014 17:03

Ukraine declared independence from the USSR in 1991, but Moscow has made sure it’s remained heavily involved in Kiev’s affairs ever since. That has been relatively simple. Soon before independence,… Continue reading

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John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (1650 - 1722), in the process of winning the Battle of Blenheim 13th  August 1704.

French baiting from the PM?

31 January 2014 11:42

The French media might prostrate themselves before their own leaders; but they are a little more adventurous with ours. Le Figaro reports that the original plan for today’s Anglo-French Summit… Continue reading

27 Comments
There is more to immigration than GDP figures. (Image: Getty)

Economists – the scourge of mankind

3 January 2014 11:31

Are there any disciplines on earth as hyped-up and overrated as economics? Every subject depends to some extent on others; you can’t, for example, understand history without a bit of… Continue reading

127 Comments
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Old England died in 1963

21 November 2013 12:55

There is no better measure of the pivotal importance of 1963 than to recall what Britain was like in the early 1950s, as we slowly emerged from the shadows of… Continue reading

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Kennedy Addressing

John F Kennedy was one of the nastiest presidents in American history

19 November 2013 14:55

The fiftieth anniversary of John F Kennedy’s assassination is, of course, an occasion for a fresh outbreak of the virulent hagiography that has corrupted the memory of his actual record.… Continue reading

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When 50,000 Irishmen gathered to commemorate the First World War

12 November 2013 15:35

As I wrote last week, I had not thought commemorating the centenary of the First World War need be a matter of controversy. But one of the reasons why it… Continue reading

133 Comments
20 years after the publication of 'Clash of Civilizations', Samuel Huntington is still upsetting complacent thinkers who marginalise religion in their analyses. (BANARAS KHAN/AFP/GettyImages)

Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ is still upsetting the complacent

2 October 2013 10:53

It is twenty years since Samuel Huntington’s essay ‘The Clash of Civilizations?’ was first published in Foreign Affairs. On Monday night I took part in a discussion on BBC Radio… Continue reading

74 Comments
Rebekah Brooks And Andy Coulson Appear At Court Facing Charges Linked To Alleged Bribery

A history of spinners, from Robert Walpole to Damian McBride and Andy Coulson

28 September 2013 10:00

A full colour Andy Coulson looms ominously behind a black and white David Cameron on the front cover of Andrew Blick and George Jones’s book on aides to the Prime… Continue reading

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spec play

Spectator Play: The highs and the lows of what’s going on in arts this week

27 September 2013 17:51

When you hear the words ‘English art’, there are very few people who would immediately think of embroidery. As Dan Jones said when he was asked if he would like… Continue reading

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James Basire took a coach and four through early January snows in 1814 to attend his aunt's funeral. His record of that journey remains a thrilling piece of unmediated history.

Here, Mr Gove, is the thrill of raw, unvarnished history

4 September 2013 9:36

Our unrelenting appetite for historical drama is fed by a ceaseless stream of novels and dramatisations – usually, these days, something to do with those naughty Tudors. Perhaps it is… Continue reading

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A general view of the 18th green on the Alcadeisa Golf Club

Hitler’s missed opportunity: failing to smash the rock of Gibraltar

3 September 2013 11:37

It may be that only geological erosion, expected to occur sometime over the next ten million years, will finally remove Gibraltar as a source of friction between Britain and Spain.… Continue reading

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The trailer from Danny Boyle's recent National Theatre adaptation of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller.

What if Byron and the Shelleys had live tweeted from the Villa Diodati?

2 September 2013 13:38

It’s one of the most famous – indeed infamous – episodes in English literary history. In the summer of 1816 Lord Byron took a villa on the banks of Lake… Continue reading

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England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege/ Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,/ With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds.

Is England too good for the English? Shakespeare’s John of Gaunt seems to think so

26 August 2013 9:30

From Shakespeare’s Richard II, lines spoken by John of Gaunt. This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise,… Continue reading

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What might link Cleopatra, Augustus, Constantine, Barbarossa, Tamerlane and the Farnese?

22 August 2013 10:30

The stone called sardonyx looks a lot more fragile than it actually is. It’s luminous like glass, but hard like steel, which explains why so much of it has survived… Continue reading

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